Long before the expression ‘World Music’ became fashionable and musicians in the West were still busy trying to find out about sitar and tabla, Charlie Mariano travelled to a remote village in Tamilnadu, South India, to study the intricacies of the oboe-like instrument, the Nadaswaram. This was the beginning of his experience with Carnatic or South Indian classical music, which would lead him to over two decades of fruitful association with artistes from the Karnataka College of Percussion.
Around 1978 two muscians from the KCP (Karnataka College of Percussion), Ramamani and T.A.S. Mani, met percussionist Ramesh Shotham in Bangalore and, together with jazz pianist Louis Banks from Bombay, they formed the first Indo-Jazz fusion group called ‘Sangam’. This band’s great success on European tours culminated in a much acclaimed performance at the 1983 Berlin Jazz Festival, with special guest Charlie Mariano! During the same year the groundbreaking ECM production ‘Jyothi’ featuring Mariano and the KCP was also released. Thus a new genre in the music scene came into existence.
After several albums and tours with outstanding European musicians, KCP met
Mike Herting, who became so enthralled with this form of music, that he travelled to Bangalore, studying and exchanging ideas with Ramamani. The result was a unique project, a first time meeting of South Indian classical musicians with a big band! Arranged by Mike Herting, ‘Sketches of Bangalore’ performed by KCP/Mariano and the WDR Big Band became a landmark!
Around 2005 the group streamlined into a quintet featuring Ramamani – vocal, Charlie Mariano – saxophone, Mike Herting – keys, T.A.S. Mani – percussion and Ramesh Shotham – percussion. They now call themselves very simply, KCP 5! A brand new recording by this lineup was produced by Mike Herting in January 2006 in Bangalore. Titled ‘Many Ways’, it is to be released later this year.
In 2007 KCP 5 will tour Europe starting circa the 10th of March until the 15th of April. During this period the group will once again meet and work with the WDR Big Band.
Jyothi – ECM
Germanistan – Dissidenten
Live – VeraBra
Sankirna – Oriental Wind
Blue Glass – Keytone
Bangalore – Intuition
Sketches of Bangalore – pmp
Many Ways KCP5 – Doublemoon
Recent Festival Appearances:
Berlin Jazzfest 1998
Stimmen Gottes Morocco 1999
Moers Festival 1999
Leverkusen Jazztage 2003
Theaterhaus Festival Stuttgart 2005
Dresdner Musik Festspiele 2005